Sunday, 1 April 2012


The annual Snakewatch event took place at the country park on Sunday 1st on a perfect sunny morning with thirty adults and children being rewarded with views of two kinds of reptile. One boy brought this common lizard over to me, which he'd found in the long grass. After the lizard scuttled up his sleeve, it was eventually coaxed back down his arm and put back in the grass. Several other lizards were noted scurrying into cover as we walked across the grass.

The adders were showing well with most folk seeing all of the six adders that were looked for. This freshly shed adder skin just a couple of days old, was found amongst some bramble branches and was taken home as a souvenir by this young girl. Five metres away was the freshly-marked adder with its bright silver-grey colouration basking in the sun.

Four adders braved the cool and cloudy yesterday in various parts of the park.

Birds seen around the park today have been the chiffchaff at the pond along with a pochard and 12 tufted ducks. On the fields 12 snipe, 50 curlew, 30 shelduck and 20 black-tailed godwits were noted with the pair of kestrels in the nearby oak tree. Two hundred brent geese including the pale-bellied brent, flew onto the mud near the Point where there were also 200 golden plover seen near here too. At the end of the day a pair of little owls sat up on a telegraph post in the car park, watching the moth trap being set up for Sunday night.

Mike Dawson reported seeing the first swallow on the Island at Home Farm near the East Mersea Oyster Fishery earlier in the day. Martin Cock saw a hen harrier over Langenhoe and 3 common seals in the Pyefleet along with a peregrine over his West Mersea house. Martin's visit to Gyants marsh near Meeting lane produced a calling tawny owl and 3 chiffchaffs on Tuesday. Ian Black saw a red kite fly west over his house in Mersea Avenue in West Mersea on Friday.

On Friday morning a red-legged partridge was seen near the East Mersea road just west of the pub and a marsh harrier was seen flying up-river to Langenhoe on Saturday morning. There was also the interesting count of 16 pied wagtails feeding around the pools in the fields on Saturday afternoon.

Helen Mussett saw the pair of muntjac deer near the park pond on Monday 26th and then two badgers here a couple of evenings later. Donna Moncur watched a badger jog along Rewsalls Lane as she was driving along one evening, about a week earlier.

The moth trap operated through Thursday and Friday nights with a good catch of 90 moths on the first night but dropping to 50 on the next night. This early thorn pictured above was a distinctive moth to spot in the trap with the wings raised like a butterfly.

The first two blossom underwings of the spring were noted on the first night. This moth is surprisingly common here each spring with up to ten individuals noted one night last year.

The red chestnut with its reddy-brown colouring is a regular visitor in ones and twos through the early spring here.
Other moths noted included engrailed, small quaker, common quaker, hebrew character, clouded drab, March moth and early grey.

The only butterfly seen today at the park was a peacock flying alongside the car park.

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